Stress Management Strategies in a Remote World

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Dealing with stress early is the best way to prevent its effects developing into something more serious. But in today’s remote world some of our go-to stress management techniques need reworking.

The pandemic has inevitably been a source of stress for many of us – from the obvious health concerns, grief, loss, through the financial concerns, income, and employment, to the challenge of navigating the new normal, home schooling, working from home, social distancing and isolation.

At the same time, our go-to ways of unwinding have been closed off to us: no more weekend breaks, holidays, trips to the gym, socialising with friends and family – these things have all been curtailed for so many of us.

Essential Stress Management

This makes stress management strategies all the more important. However, many proven stress management tips will need reworking slightly for the socially distanced world so many of us are currently living in.

The three-step process for managing stress:

The great thing about successful stress management is you can jump straight to steps two and three and practice good stress management long before stress becomes a problem.

Managing workplace stress

A July 2020 survey by FlexJobs and Mental Health America found that 42 percent of those surveyed said their stress levels are high or very high through the pandemic. With 76 percent of respondents linking workplace stress to their mental health, with stress having negative impacts on anxiety and depression, it is clear that we need to be paying extra attention to stress management techniques at the moment.

The MIT Sloan Review offers several simple ways to help minimize the particular stresses of the new way of working. It suggests:

  • Emotionally proofread your messages. Tone doesn’t always translate in text, so if the message is important, jump on a video chat.
  • Be mindful of time zones. Switching off is important, so show the courtesy of respecting people’s working hours.
  • Schedule time for serendipitous collaboration. So much of our spontaneous everyday communication is missing; so schedule time for conversation with your colleagues just to catch up and share ideas.
  • Make room for mini breaks. Stepping away from your desk even just for five minutes can help you relax. If you have a garden, step outside. Or just move to a different space for a little while. Likely your productivity will also improve when you return to your desk.

Achieving work-life balance when working remotely

We know that a good work life balance helps to reduce feelings of stress. Yet the FlexJobs survey found that 65 percent of workers admitted to working longer hours during the pandemic than ever before. 67 percent said they feel pressured to be available at all hours of the day.

If you’re responsible for managing teams, lead by example and try to encourage staff to switch off at the end of the day and practice work/life balance.

It is more difficult to achieve a work/life balance when working from home, but there are simple strategies that can help. Writing in Forbes magazine, Bryan Robinson suggests:

  • Develop barriers between your work and home life.
  • Start and end your workday with some kind of ritual that tells your brain to shift into and out of working mode.
  • Turn off email and work notifications after hours.
  • Don’t let “life” tasks creep into your working day; you’ll find it easier to walk away if you’ve accomplished productive work during the day.
  • Actively schedule personal activities – whether it is your daily exercise, conversations with friends, or just a go-to hobby, block out time in your diary for a little you time.

Furthermore, making time for physical exercise is shown to be beneficial in lowering stress levels. If you have time in your schedule, invest in yourself for the long-term. Undertaking training to enhance your work skills or life skills has a positive effect on our emotional wellbeing.

Act now to manage stress

These simple techniques can be practiced even if you aren’t feeling stressed. Prevention is definitely better than the cure: stress can affect our health and even lead to more serious mental health issues, such as anxiety and burnout.

It can be difficult to recognise signs of stress in yourself, especially when you are up to your eyeballs in a stressful environment. So take action now to practice good stress management techniques for our remote world.

Read more: Ideas for hobbies that can relax your mind.

How do successful people relax? Discover in our blog.